Cenzo Townshend: U2, Florence + The Machine, The Maccabees

Posted by The Audio Hunt

Use the gear and expertise of legendary mix engineer Cenzo Townshend on your own tracks & productions. Learn how this heavy-weight champion has paved his path to success.

Cenzo Townshend: U2, Florence + The Machine, The Maccabees
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Sunny Suffolk is home to Decoy Studio’s award winning mixing engineer Cenzo Townshend. From the comfort of his SSL desk, Cenzo has mixed countless chart-topping records ranging from George Ezra to The Maccabees and Florence + The Machine. Townshend continues to stay on top of industry trends, being a supporter of the world’s first global studio by promoting remote collaboration in the audio industry through the use of classic analog gear.

You are recognized as one of the top mixing engineers sought after by many acts around the world. Can you briefly tell us about the journey there? How did you start out and what was your path to success?

Over the last twenty years I have been fortunate to have been involved in mixing best-selling albums and singles from talents such as: U2, Snow Patrol, Elbow, Florence & the Machine, Kaiser Chiefs, George Ezra, Ben Howard, Jamie T, Block Party, The Maccabees, Everything Everything.

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I began my career in the 80s working at Trident Studios, eventually working as an assistant engineer for Alan Moulder, Mark 'Spike' Stent and 'Flood'. Afterwards I worked independently with producer Ian Broudie for 8 years and then joined producer Stephen Street at The Bunker in Olympic Studios until its closure in 2009. I'm honoured to have been awarded 'Best Mix Engineer' by The Music Producers Guild in 2009, 2010 and to be nominated in 2016. I am now the commander in chief at Decoy Studios where I currently mix.


What was your breakthrough act that thrusted your career into the industry?

Throughout my career I've been lucky enough to work with some incredible acts but commercially ‘Snow Patrol - Eyes Open’ was a major breakthrough especially ‘Chasing Cars’ which manage to penetrate the US market. ‘Florence And The Machines - Lungs’ was another breakthrough success for me and an important record as it was Florence's debut album. More recently I've mixed albums for 'The Maccabees', 'Everything Everything', ‘Jake Bugg’ and ‘Passenger’.


Throughout your career, you have worked in a number of great commercial studios. What made you want to have your own facility? What is the story behind Decoy and its construction?

Every mix engineer dreams of owning a studio, one that's personalised around their own workflow and criteria. With the demise of big studios in London, such as Townhouse and Olympic, I couldn't find a studio to call home so it was the perfect time to build Decoy. I had the studio designed by world renowned studio builders White Mark (The Hit Factory, Air Studios) and it was built within a year!

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Decoy is situated just over an hour outside of London in the picturesque countryside of sunny Suffolk. The aim of Decoy Studios is to combine high-end construction techniques with a boutique vibe to provide a truly unique recording experience. Decoy is equipped with two large control rooms, a booth, live room and vast array of esoteric equipment, microphones and instruments to inspire both musicians and engineers alike.


Speaking of equipment, you have an astonishing collection of analog gear at your disposal. Can you name three units you’d struggle to live without and provide a reason why?

That’s a difficult decision as I love all my gearÂ… but the three studio essentials for me are the [Analogue Tube] AT-101, GML Model 8200 [EQ] and SSL G Series 6000 G Series 6000 [console].

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The AT-101 is a recreation of the original Fairchild 670 stereo limiter. It's a natural sounding stereo limiter that brings out detail in your tracks by allowing all types of instruments and sound to sit "up front" in the mix. My go-to compressor for ‘finalising’ a mix.

The GML Model 8200 EQ has a long heritage, being the industry standard EQ for over 20 years. Designed by the most qualified man for the job, George Massenburg, who invented the term “Parametric Equalization”. It has incredible resolution, transparency and headroom allowing for surgical precision of frequencies in the mix.

The SSL G Series 6000 G Series 6000 is the heart of the studio and is where you’ll find me sat at when I'm at work. The mixer works as a hub for all my outboard analogue gear; on top of that the onboard compressor and VCAs sound fantastic!

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And when you’re not sat at your SSL desk, where can we find you?

Driving my 1966 Land Rover with my family and the dogs.


A classy exit by award winning mixing engineer Cenzo Townshend as he starts his next mixing session. 


Interview Cenzo Mixing